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IE Losing 10% Market Share Every Two Years

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the slowly-but-surely dept.

Internet Explorer 345

mjasay writes "Mozilla's Asa Dotzler points to some interesting long-term trends in browser market share, noting that 'browser releases aren't having any major impact on the macro trends,' which suggests that a better IE will likely have little impact on its sliding market share. The most intriguing conclusion from the data, however, is that Firefox could surpass IE market share as early as January 2013 if Firefox continues to gain 5 percent every year, even as IE drops 5 percent each year. In the past, Microsoft might have fought back by tying IE to other products to block competition, but with the EU keeping a close antitrust eye on Microsoft and the US Obama administration keen to make an example of an antitrust bully, Microsoft may have few good options beyond good old fashioned competition, which doesn't seem to be working very well for the Redmond giant, as the market share data suggests. Microsoft's loss of IE market power, in turn, could have serious consequences for the company's efforts to compete with Google on the Web."

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345 comments

2013? (5, Funny)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939225)

Too bad the world will end at 2012 ;)

Re:2013? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939349)

Maybe that's what causes the end of the world? December 21, 2012... Firefox surpasses IE in marketshare, causing Steve Ballmer to lose his mind and launch Microsoft's nuclear missiles. Someone get Art Bell on the line, I think I've got a program idea for him

Re:2013? (5, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940191)

Firefox surpasses IE in marketshare, causing Steve Ballmer to lose his mind and launch Microsoft's nuclear missiles.

Everyone will find out about this seconds before impact when their TV screens (and computer monitors) go briefly snowy before a sinister super villain calling himself The ChairMan appears and says "I'M GOING TO F**KING KILL YOU!!", laughs maniacally interspersed with chants of "DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!", then throws his chair at the camera a second before impact.

Why yes, I am bored. How can you tell?

Re:2013? (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939353)

Too bad the world will end at 2012 ;)

Yeah, but not until December 21, so we may still have a chance to see Firefox & IE effectively neck and neck.

Re:2013? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939439)

As IE market share declines, the end of the world gets closer. This explains everything! All this time, everything Microsoft has done has been to prevent the end of the world. It wasn't a monopoly, they were ensuring the future of humanity! They've been acting in our best interests all along. We've been such fools not to see the truth. I'm deleting Firefox and running IE right away, that foxy bastard's eating a gig of memory anyway.

Re:2013? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27940217)

I thought the world was going to end January 19, 2038?

Bug? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939233)

Im being sent emails with story links while they are still only accessible to subscribers. Ignore this if its not a bug or is known. Have a nice day.

Oh, and, to not be completely OT, IE sux 8)

~Dreen

Free subscription (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939889)

Im being sent emails with story links while they are still only accessible to subscribers.

I can think of two possibilities:

  1. Slashdot is trying to push out the e-mails early enough that they get through various SMTP servers' forwarding lag.
  2. You have a free subscription waiting for you.

It appears Slashdot has been giving me a free sub to thank me for my positive contribution to the comments. On the right side of my Slashdot homepage, I get this:

Ads Disabled [X]
Thanks again for helping make Slashdot great!

Perhaps you need to log in when you post, and make insightful posts early enough that moderators see them. Then your karma should shoot up well into the Excellent region (which I seem to remember is about 25 deep).

Might it have something to do with the spell checker built into Firefox 3?

There's an Artificial Barrier (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939237)

That consists of
  • Corporations with policies of only using IE.
  • Non-technical individuals that have no desire to "upset" the voodoo magic that makes their computer connect to the intarnet.
  • IE enthusiasts.
  • People who use websites that only work in IE (like my employer's time card system brought to you by Mrs. Arnold's fifth grade class).

These people will always keep IE's share above some percentage (I'd take a stab of about 66.6%). Also, and I appreciate Asa's non-profit work but I must question his for-profit source that he cited [hitslink.com] . Where and how was this data collected? It's a very difficult problem and everyone of these browser-share or operating system-share reports that hits Slashdot are ripped apart by readers as being statistically flawed. No transparency causes me to instantly dismiss these findings.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939337)

"Corporations with policies of only using IE."

But even that isn't working much. I mean, I'm working with federal govt. entities, and they are mandating that you can NOT download and use IE8.

They have some apps that only work with IE, but, they allow Firefox, and from what I've seen, have no problems with letting you install and use plug-ins and update to your hearts desire. But, they have memos out saying IE8 is verboten, and will be removed from your box if they scan and find it.

Interesting I'd say....

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (5, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939473)

I think the reason for forbidding IE8 is more because it's quite difficult to get working installations of both IE6 and IE8 on the same computer. They have shit web apps that only work on IE6 and it's not so much that they don't want IE8, it's that they don't want to lose the crutch of IE6.

That about how things are at my work. I use Firefox, but IE 7 and 8 are blocked. I still need to use IE 6 for our web apps that don't work in Firefox.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940143)

Well, I've got Win XP on different machines, two with IE7, and others without.

For some reason the ones with IE7 seem to have problems with fast user switching - sometimes you cannot enter a password so you can't relogin. Coincidence maybe. But given the way MS does stuff, I'm going to skip the IE "upgrades" on other machines till I really have to.

Since IE is tied up with so much of windows, I'd rather be a guinea pig with Chrome or firefox or whatever than with IE.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939477)

But even that isn't working much. I mean, I'm working with federal govt. entities, and they are mandating that you can NOT download and use IE8.

I am by no means endorsing or defending IE8 but as someone familiar with corporate America, I can assure you that you are incorrect in your assumptions of motive.

Whenever a new "most significant digit" version is made in a new product, they wait until it's several subdivisions along before jumping to it. Simple reason is that in the 8.01 versions of weblogic or IE there are likely security issues. Which is why some places are still using Weblogic 8.14 or 9.XX instead of jumping to 10.1. They did the same thing with Firefox 2 and 3 where I work. It was "verboten" (god, I hate that crossover word, we have "forbidden" and "prohibited" already in English unless you're making a stupid Nazi reference).

I don't find it interesting, I find it a common precaution. Once it's hardened, they'll be on IE8 just like when they moved from IE6 to 7 (if they even have yet).

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939879)

Posting A.C. to keep my bosses happy...

I work *FOR* the government, and your statement is a half-truth. We are not allowing people to download IE 8.x because it is an unknown quantity. IE 7 is a mature product (yeah, yeah) and for all its faults, we know how it will react to our applications and internal websites.

Please keep in mind, this does not just apply to IE 8 though... any brand-new software must be evaluated and go through a shakedown process before being allowed into the general use.

Microsoft may ENCOURAGE other browser usage (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27940167)

Why? - to avoid monopoly charges. My dad used to work for UPS, and they would routinely encourage people to use their competitor (FedEx) so that UPS would avoid monopoly charges.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939457)

I think you've put your finger on the strongest barriers to entry that Microsoft has erected. However, I'd like to point out that this list is the list of barriers they've retreated to. Bundling used to work in favor of IE. No longer. IE's reputation as the most compatible browser worked in their favor. No longer. Microsoft's hold over the development community meant that applications used to target IE. No longer.

Microsoft has retreated to the safety of corporate apps. They are slow to change, and in result are dependable. Yet their market share continues to drop. And here's the catch-22: Companies who rely on IE specific technologies (and thus maintain IE as the "standard") stick with IE6. They are now experiencing pressures to change their browser standards. Eventually they will cave to those pressures.

My expectation is that companies aren't going to be friendly to another round of Microsoft lock-in. They've done this song and dance too many times. Some will fall for it, but I have a feeling Microsoft's market share will vaporize as companies make an effort to target web standards rather than IE-specific technologies.

So that evil percentage you gave won't be the stopping point for IE. It's going to the bottom whether Microsoft likes it or not.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (5, Interesting)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939501)

The link you provided does show IE losing between 7% and 12% per year, rather than Asa's rough figure of 10% per year.

I agree with your assessment that there is an artificial barrier to Firefox adoption, that in the current environment there is a "natural rate" of IE use. However, as Firefox and other standards-compliant browsers make significant gains in marketshare, several knock-on effects will manifest:

  • New businesses or transitional businesses will have the opportunity to establish non-IE standards for their policies. Back when IE was overwhelmingly hegemonic, it wasn't viable to suggest standardizing on a <5% browser. Now that there are browsers with 20% (Fx) and ~10% (Safari), and Chrome which is backed by a multibillion dollar corporation, standardizing on something other than IE is far more defensible.
  • Absolute marketshare dominance is not necessarily what Firefox or any other standards compliant browser is aiming for, at least in the medium-term. It doesn't matter terribly if there is an artificial floor on how far IE can fall, given institutional path dependency. What matters is that the browser market can achieve a more plural distribution of marketshares. This will have two effects: first, raising the importance of adhering to web standards; and second, raising the importance of competitive innovation by browser vendors.

In general, I agree with your suspicion that simply extrapolating from raw trends four or five years into the future is not a particularly valid or predictive exercise, because as you rightly point out the sociology of different blocks of users and their needs are different. Firefox may effectively eat up certain blocks, but that's no guarantee that they can effectively appeal to others.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939617)

When Firefox (or any other browser) gains enough market share, the trend of corporations requiring IE will switch to that the new top browser instead. Yes, it's an artificial barrier now, but it's not something that's insurmountable.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (4, Interesting)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939653)

People who use websites that only work in IE (like my employer's time card system brought to you by Mrs. Arnold's fifth grade class).
There will be a tipping point when any new web application will have to support all the standards.
Janus now does this, but when I first was using them 8 years ago, they didn't support any of my browsers so I left them. Today they do, but now I use Scottrade. I think we're close to the tipping point for this particular line item, the others we're just SOL.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939737)

I think it's likely that IE's market share will decrease in the short term. Doubtless there will come an equilibrium point where all browsers have reached their natural market share. Also, MS has the resources to make IE a good browser if they want to. (pretty much all they have to do is cut it loose from Windows, make it standards compliant, and kill ActiveX forever).

I'm not convinced Firefox will make significant gains going forward, unless they can address some of the significant problems with browser -- no multi-threading, memory hog, and pretty much sucks on a Mac.

Chrome is set to make a huge dent in everyone's market once it becomes a rounded finished product, and there's a decent extension library.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939819)

While what you say is true, it should be considered that different slices of the marketshare have different values to different people.

For instance, the "we'll be running IE6 until Microsoft finally drops support in Windows for Brainstems Service Pack 8" market is extremely valuable in that it ensures that large corporations will be running windows clients, or at least a bunch of windows terminal servers to serve IE instances to some other sort of clients, until the crack of doom. This gives Microsoft the continued chance to sell office and sharepoint and whatnot. On the other hand, this marketshare is essentially meaningless in terms of determining the direction of social and entertainment websites. Most corporate IT departments are actively hostile to those, and discourage their users from accessing them at work. Twitbook and Friendtube 2.0 and all the rest have no reason to care about those users, and can more or less freely adopt features that don't work with their version of IE.

The "clueless home noobs" market is sort of intermediate. As long as they are using IE by default, general purpose web sites(banking, online stores, news sites, online entertainment) will have a strong incentive to continue to support them, because they are so numerous; but "hip" stuff and techie stuff will not; because the demographics are distinct.

IE enthusiasts are, arguably, not really an "artifical barrier" since they are doing what they are doing voluntarily. They, at least, are likely to be running the latest available version at any given time.

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939969)

Corporations with policies of only using IE.
Policies do change over time. IE policy for corporations don't have much about anything technical about IE, It is about reducing support and development costs, Being IE has the bulk of the market share means it is a good choice to standardize on that technology... For now... But say Firefox takes overs and most of those legacy Active X apps are updated to Ajax or Flash or even shiver Silverlight which can work on multiple browsers, then the policy will start to change. Espectialy if their new PC that gets shipped to them from dell or whatever have Firefox on it, and people start using it even though it is not supported by company. It will just kinda degrade the policy for a while then a new policy will come into place.

Non-technical individuals that have no desire to "upset" the voodoo magic that makes their computer connect to the intarnet.
This is happening less and less. Most people have a degree of computer skills. If they wanted to they can run Firefox. Usually after a couple of crashes and viruses and enough yelling from tech people to them They will use Firefox. It really isn't that big of a change

  IE enthusiasts.
Those people change overtime too. Enthusiasts of any group are Enthusiasts because they made a decision a while back and with Hell or High Water their ego will not let them be wrong. Over time these people do the following. 1. Realize their path isn't worth it anymore. 2. Are forced to accept defeat. 3. Die/Retire

People who use websites that only work in IE (like my employer's time card system brought to you by Mrs. Arnold's fifth grade class).
I am finding less and less of these apps. I almost never use IE and If I do it is usually because I am on a PC that doesn't have an alternative or the site is really old and still uses Active X to do all the work. For the most part if you get a Modern Browser Firefox, Safari, Chrome or whatever else and get it to run the latest version of Adobe Flash and Java. You have a real good Internet Experience.

IE will not reach 0% market share Any time soon. Just as I bet there are some people out there still using Netscape 2.0 or more likely Netscape 4.0

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939977)

I think it is silly to assume that user trends will remain static.

This is more like an arms race than a steady progression. There will be fits and spurts in either direction depending on who adds what feature, etc.

How about folks like me who use both? Some things work better in one than the other. Neither costs me any $$ so I keep both on my desktop and use whichever one I feel like.

What if in 2011 Mozilla screws up royally? Or Microsoft? You can't just look at the past couple of years and assume those trends will continue several years down the road.

Unless you are talking about real estate. It is perfectly logical to assume that if home prices have risen 10% each year that that trend will always continue, right? Right? Please tell me I'm right...

Re:There's an Artificial Barrier (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940099)

I'd take a stab of about 66.6%

Isn't that about where it's at now?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet-explorer-usage-data.svg [wikipedia.org]

I don't think the asymptote is as high as 66%. We're there now and look at how fast IE usage is dropping.

Anyway, having other browsers make up 1/3 or more of the audience is enough to force websites to be built towards standards, which is the real issue.

There's no barrier, only perception. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940185)

There's only perception of a barrier. IE rocketed to the top because it was better. Everyone wrote for it as it had a working (as in fully scriptable) DOM and supporting Netscape was a huge PITA. But there was not near the content on the web in the late 1990s, when this all happened, as there is today. So there's inertia, but inertia is not a barrier. If alternative browsers continue to execute well, and IE continues to stagnate, then, IE will naturally lose and we will reach a time when people will only support FireFox...just like they ditched Netscape.

Listen to the Nerds (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940221)

There is a significant Bellwether for the future in the tech industry - find out what the Nerds are recommending! True of any industry, find out what the pros in the industry are happiest with, and you'll find the up-and-comings if they aren't already on top.

People come to the "computer nerds" in order to get advice. Sure, many sales happen at the local Best Buy with whatever's on the shelf, but the trends start with nerds who identify new technologies, use them, and then recommend them to friends.

Microsoft has had a pretty tarnished name among the nerd community for a long time. Is it any wonder that their products are losing market share? It's really only inertia that's propping them up now. ALL of the following are gaining market share at the expense of Microsoft:

* MacOS
* Ubuntu
* OpenOffice
* PostgreSQL
* Fedora
* Zimbra
* Firefox
* Chrome
* Safari

Any I missed?

What's more, these technologies represent *core* technologies for Microsoft. Windows + Office are the cash cows for Microsoft, and they are what's most under attack by the Open Source crowd.

Listen to the nerds. They are the quiet whisper that define the future of the industry!

Date is wrong. (3, Funny)

Methlin (604355) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939251)

As they refine their data they'll find Firefox's uptake will slowly increase and overtake IE market share on December 12th 2012.

Re:Date is wrong. (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939383)

That would be the normal way that word of mouth campaigns go. I wouldn't expect any of the alternative browsers to crack 50%. Not because they aren't good enough, but because there's competition. When IE and Netscape did it, there weren't really any other browsers available to the internet going public. It was also a smaller total market. In more recent times MS had to use it's power to force it up there. Getting above 50% is going to be tough considering the different needs of various people going online.

But that being said, even with numbers in the 30-40% range, that's much too large of a market for developers to ignore. Plus even if the figures don't get better for the alternatives, the best thing for everybody is going to be when IE 6 dies the horrific death it deserves, abomination that it was.

Depressing (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939253)

If the same kind trend applies for Windows there will likely be a large percentage of people using it in 2099

browser wars are old news (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939269)

and no one cares anymore

MS pushed IE because they were afraid another browser would kill Windows as an app platform. it's already happening anyway and MS is content to license ActiveSync to Apple and Google, FAT32 to GPS makers, Virtual Earth and other cloud/SaaS services they have that don't rely on browser or OS

Re:browser wars are old news (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939611)

and no one cares anymore

Actually, there are plenty of developers who would love to be able to stop supporting IE. The amount of times things have to be tweaked and hacked just to please Internet Explorer, when the web site already works on most everything else (everything else: Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera).

Re:browser wars are old news (0, Troll)

Dracos (107777) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940117)

Agreed, the browser wars are over. MS cheated and won.

Now IE has real competition for the first time in about a decade, and MS knows they can't actually compete on quality or features. They've given up on IE and forcing people to use it as a way to control the web... now they've shifted focus to control how the web itself works. IMO, Chris Wilson, as the chair of the HTML working group, is a mole.

The standards wars are upon us. Long live XHTML2.

Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939281)

Right now Firefox consume nearly 400MBs ram of my system, eating 300MBs of my HDD (I set offline cache to 20MBs only), and with crazy fsync that halt it everytime I copy a bigger than normal files.

I am really looking forward to Chrome on linux.

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939485)

Right now Firefox consume nearly 400MBs ram of my system

I call BS unless your tab count is in the 3 figure range.

Right now, with 23 tabs open, I'm getting around 134MB.

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939655)

I am calling bullshit on this. I love firefox but it's definitely a memory hog.7 tabs open and it's at 400mb. Granted I have 9GB of RAM but still.

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (1)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939827)

I am calling bullshit on this. I love firefox but it's definitely a memory hog.7 tabs open and it's at 400mb. Granted I have 9GB of RAM but still.

Then who cares about 400 MB, when you have that kind of RAM to spare. The more data you have stored in RAM => the less you have to page to/from disk => better performance.

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939955)

I am calling bullshit on this. I love firefox but it's definitely a memory hog.7 tabs open and it's at 400mb. Granted I have 9GB of RAM but still.

I have 7 tabs open (7 different /. stories) and am using 90.1 MB. Maybe you should get FF 3.

Now I have 12 tabs open. 7 /. tabs, 2 gmail tabs, and 3 Yahoo News pages. 95.7 MB used. Honestly, your FF is the problem, not FF in general.

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939841)

Why did the parent get marked "off topic"??

I have the exact same experience. All you have to do is wait an hour and indeed IE7 or FF3 gobbles up all your ram. I see why he/she hopes for chrome on Linux, as I'm using Chrome right now and I have not had browser memory hog problems since.

I'd probably give IE8 a spin, but the IE7 experience was awful ... and FF3 just barely beats it for second place on the windows platform. On my Linux box FF3 sucks up 400 to 600 mb as soon as I start doing anything like watch YouTube videos.

Tamran

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939881)

FF's memory usage patterns seem to be very dependent on the user and his luck.

I'm running FF 3.0.10 on Linux, and this is what top says:

PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
17663 evaned 15 0 560m 311m 37m S 19.3 10.7 448:30.96 firefox-bin

(I'm so glad slashcode collapses spaces like that. Point being, FF is taking multiple hundreds of megs. This is with 20 tabs open. (Part of this could be flash's fault). Also, FF has been behaving very poor lately in general, so I'm often restarting it.)

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (2, Interesting)

Bellegante (1519683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939751)

Does anyone else miss how quickly ie4 was? I booted an old, unupdated system, connected to the internet (doubtless aquiring several nasty things) and ie4 was just.. there. Instantly. I know it had been preloaded into memory by the system, but it wasn't that. Every page was instantaneous, there was no wait time, even on an old P2. Then I updated, got firefox, and it all slowed to a crawl.

I'd like something good for old systems - so I could use it on my new one and have it run that quickly. Maybe I should use Dillo..

Re:Yeah, but I don't really like Firefox (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939937)

IE4 was a piece of garbage. It was slow, it was bloated, it crashed regularly, it had odd rendering bugs, it tried to take over the desktop with a metric load of ActiveDesktop crud, and its usability was fairly poor.

IE5 was faster, smaller, and generally a very good browser for its time. Which is why it was finally able to dethrone Netscape. All Microsoft did after that was fix a few bugs, add features nobody wanted, called it IE6, then sat on their fat arses for a decade.

Why does microsoft care? (1)

Sefert (723060) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939283)

Except that inasmuch that it used to help sell Windows, which I doubt has little value any more as a marketing tool as pretty much every consumer knows every machine can get on the net, what's the value in MS dumping lots of cash into a browser war when they have to give the browser away for free? The only advantage I can think of is the value of the default home page for advertising dollars, which has never been their primary market anyway.

Re:Why does microsoft care? (2, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939853)

It was to sell Windows and development tools and IIS

If you developed for Windows/IE/IIS then you use those, and people you sell to use them etc ...

You make Windows cheap to companies, make IE free, so they will pay to use MSSQL/IIS/Sharepoint and not use alternatives

Re:Why does microsoft care? (1)

LUH 3418 (1429407) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939891)

There is obvious value in having some control over people's internet experience. Having people's homepage default to MSN, for example, allows Microsoft to expose users to Microsoft's view of the internet. Their own search engine, their own news sources, their own social network, etc. There is advertising money to be made from this, but I believe Microsoft is also realizing that the internet is becoming worth alot more than it used to be In my opinion, this is simply Microsoft trying to turn itself into a company that provides services, a bit like Google.

The PC market used to be, in the early 80s, about selling hardware. But hardware became cheap and widely available, so the market moved into the software world (Microsoft makes more money than PC makers). However, operating systems are bringing less and less truely novel features with each release, which makes it easier for competitors like Linux and Mac OS... Software will eventually be cheap and commodized like hardware. At that point, the software market will be much less profitable than it is now. Offering services seems like a better option, because those are harder to commodize.

Re:Why does microsoft care? (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940097)

I think it's a major issue for Microsoft. Not for the next three years, but for the next 25 years.

The reason is that in time the browser will be the only thing you actually run on your computer, everything else will be done via interfaces on a web page. Thus, controling which browser people use means controling how people use/experience the web. And this, in turn, means you can dictate what tools are used to create more complex things (think online word processors and so on). These tools will very likely not be free...

As a small indication of what Microsoft may have tried doing previously, ask yourself why the program was called "MSN Messenger" and what the letters "MSN" could be... As far as I know, the abbreviation should be interpreted "Microsoft Network".

And I am quite convinced that Microsoft's idea was to create a 'second internet' controlled by themselves, to which their customers could get access. Everything outside this "MSN" could be restricted in any way, ranging from completely inacessible, via "premium services for paying customers", to unlimited access.

If this trend continues... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939289)

... then in 14 years IE will have NEGATIVE market share! Statistics don't lie! Especially when interpreted by people who don't understand them.

Reminds me about the people looking at the rate of change in male vs female athletes' performance and projecting it 5 years into the future to claim that female athletes will outperform men. Um, yeah, and if that continues, they will break the sound barrier in 15 years.

And Razors, (5, Funny)

Bellegante (1519683) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939291)

Razors will have 100 blades by 2050 according to current growth rates.

Re:And Razors, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939445)

And my cellphone will be able to download the entire Internet in seconds by 4632 B.C....

Or maybe my calculator has a memory leak...

Re:And Razors, (4, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939557)

Razors will have 100 blades by 2050 according to current growth rates.

Could be, but could also be that what will happen is that by the time they get to ten blades or so, they'll introduce the revolutionary technology of the new single blade razor, complete with marketing hype to ridicule the fact that you need ten blades to shave, when one works better and more effectively.

Of course, the price of the new single blade razor will be roughly similar to the 10 blade one -- if not slightly more expensive. Rather than one tenth of the price like it should be.

The best use for the single blade razor however, would be to cut the throat of every marketing droid in existence -- sadly, few of them will suffer that fate.

Re:And Razors, (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939621)

But what will it mean when IE takes on a negative percentage of the market? Will IE-only websites start spontaneously becoming compatible with all browsers? Will history rewrite itself so that it was as if IE never existed?

Re:And Razors, (5, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939747)

Man am I gonna look hideous in 2050. I can barely get away without cutting my face with just 3 blades on the device. With 100 I might as well duct tape the cat to my face then jump in the cold shower.

Re:And Razors, (3, Funny)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939823)

I might as well duct tape the cat to my face then jump in the cold shower.

Make sure you post that to youtube, please.

Re:And Razors, (5, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939875)

I am told that circa 1998, Adobe had posters up in their offices that said something like:
"In 1975 there were 20 professional Elvis impersonators. In 1995 there were 30,000 professional Elvis impersonators. By 2035 one of every three people will be an Elvis impersonator. Our job is to capture that market."

Which I thought was funny on at least two levels.

Re:And Razors, (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939883)

This shouldn't be moderated as funny - it's insightful. How long does it take for people to realize that trend lines like this are completely bogus? How many failed predictions does it take? There is NO HISTORY that is being projected here. If you take the equivalent of two points of data to make a line - that's not a prediction. That's not a trend line that should be paid attention to - and yet we do, every frickin' day. Wise up, people - the only reason people do this is to "create a news story".

Re:And Razors, (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940081)

Not impossible - in fact maybe it'll be more like 1000s. Nanotechnology used to provide a "microblade" surface on the razor's business end. It won't do anything either until you grip the handle, a small electrical charge then being emitted to switch the surface "on".

These will cost €50 for 5 disposable heads - but the high price won't discourage adoption as Tesco will simply discontinue all the cheaper options that make them less profit.

The Obamma administration looking at Microsoft huh (4, Insightful)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939301)

This is welcome news for today, but lets wait until Microsoft's army of lobbyists have swarmed Washington to see that quietly dropped in favour of hitting Google even harder. The woman dealing with anti-trust stuff that Obamma hired said (I'm paraphrasing) "Microsoft are last century, we need to look at current offenders like Google."

Bottom line: Politicians lie all the time, this is not news, this is normal operations. Look for the actions to back up any words. Given Microsoft's encamped army in Washington I doubt that sentiment will amount to much.

It's not over (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939305)

Someone will have to still deal with MS bundling their crapware version of virtualization aka "xp mode" (notable lack of openGL/D3D support) into the OS - this will be antitrust - IE style, round two.

Re:It's not over (1)

a90Tj2P7 (1533853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939779)

Someone will have to still deal with MS bundling their crapware version of virtualization aka "xp mode" (notable lack of openGL/D3D support) into the OS - this will be antitrust - IE style, round two.

Not by any stretch of the imagination, no. The main complaint of Microsoft does with Windows and IE stems from the fact that IE is bundled with Windows. XP Mode for Windows 7 is something that, as far as I'm aware, you currently and in the future will have to go out and download on your own. Maybe it might find it's way in there as an option, either through custom settings during installation or whatever the Windows 7 equivalent of Add/Remove Windows Components is or will be. Even then, they seem to have made it pretty clear thus far that they don't plan on having it installed with Windows. Beyond that, I really can't see any possible way you could make such a ridiculous statement.

Old News (2, Funny)

American Terrorist (1494195) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939321)

Informed people don't use IE because MS's attempt to tie it into windows resulted in it becoming the least secure browser for Windows. In the old days when IE crashed Windows crashed, everyone started hating it then, and they've preferred to use anything but IE ever since.

if if if (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939357)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Re:if if if (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940203)

Nonsense.

In 11 years, I grew about one metre. Another 11 years later and I'm two metres tall. I'm going to live around 75 years; when I die they'll need a coffin six metres long!

And wait till you hear about my penis!

A big surprise for me today... (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939363)

While at school (kindergarten) I overheard a teaching assistant say, "When I opened my Firefox, it still could not work..."

"I then called my sister who told me to install a new extension..."

I did not expect to hear this from the assistant more especially because it's IE all through at school and it's been since time in memorial.

Re:A big surprise for me today... (1)

Kippesoep (712796) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939571)

I hope you were in kindergarten because you work there... Interesting that it was the assistant's sister, rather than brother, who was giving the advice.

Re:A big surprise for me today... (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939643)

I must say, you are doing very well with your letters.

Re:A big surprise for me today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939675)

The phrase is 'time immemorial', indicating a point in history beyond the reach of memory or record.

Re:A big surprise for me today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939679)

You are one remarkably well-spoken kindergartner!

Re:A big surprise for me today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939759)

My local school districts browser of choice is Netscape. Not firefox or any other mozilla-based browser. Nope... the many-year-old Netscape 8. At least it's not IE.

I've already reached the threshold (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939371)

In the past 6 months, firefox users have already surpassed IE users on my own sites, up to 45% now (32% IE).

I admit though, I probably attract a more liberal crowd...

Why does this matter (0)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939425)

I like Firefox, I think IE sucks. But this whole "market share" thing is silly and fueled by nothing more than people obsessed with hating Microsoft. Guess what. If everyone dumps IE and switches to another browser, Microsoft's loss of revenue is exactly zero.

Re:Why does this matter (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939549)

It's much easier to justify the time and effort spent coding a web site to non-IE browsers when they have 20% market share vs. having 2% market share.

Re:Why does this matter (1)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939665)

But if people aren't forced to use IE and basically as a consequence, Windows, that will affect Microsoft. It would remove one less reason someone might have to stay on Windows or run Windows in a VM.

In addition it will affect their own web products if they are not the majority market holder on web browsers; they will have to make their apps compatible with the other browsers.

Re:Why does this matter (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940041)

Loss of direct revenue, no. But loss of revenue because they don't control the web? It could be huge, look at Google.

The elephant in the room for Microsoft (5, Insightful)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939493)

Is that when people realise there IS another option as a web browser, it does not take them long to install it and try it, or have someone install it for them. More otfen than not, when people try a different browser they like it better than IE after they get used to the fact that it's different.

Often they will feel more for their new browser because they CHOSE it and make it their default, so when an updated IE comes in as part of an automatic update they may not even know it, as they will already be using a different browser. For many people, their memories of IE are loads of pop ups crashing the fucker, toolbars installing themselves and their home pages being changed without their permission. This is NOT a warm and fuzzy feeling to give any "new and improved" IE a second chance.

People who are already awakened to the fact that other browsers exist and almost all of them are better than IE will happily jump between different browsers, perhaps start with Firefox then try out Opera etc but they are not likely to go back to IE. IE is a one-way exodus and there's nothing Microsoft can do to stop it, all they can do is try to slow the flood by actually making a good product people WANT to use.....for once.

Don't you just love karma? This is what happens when you let your product stagnate and your users suffer for years because they have nowhere to go. As soon as they do have an escape vessel they rush for it and you're left trying to lock the doors to keep them onboard.

Re:The elephant in the room for Microsoft (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939987)

My son, age 13, heard about this "new" browser at school (7th grade). He came to me excitedly Sunday evening saying how cool this new browser was and how fast it worked with his favorite websites. He said "it is called Chrome by Google". I think he and his friends are perhaps a little more advanced than I have given them credit for. Just to prime the pump a little bit, I ask him if he and his friends have heard of Linux or Ubuntu. Sadly, they have not.

I share this story because it wasn't that long ago that people didn't know or care that browsers were a separate program. They thought if you had Windows then you had to run Internet Explorer. I believe we have passed the tipping point already and we are well on our way to lots of possible browsers when the 7th graders start talking about how cool "this browser" or "that browser" is. Hopefully the same will happen with my son... I may need to set up a LiveCD so he can give Ubuntu a whirl (no space left on his harddrive due to too many games!)

Extrapolation? (4, Insightful)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939497)

First off I love Firefox and I enjoyed it when it was Phoenix and then Firebird but interpolation is bad enough with trends; but extrapolation? There is a certain percentage of people who care about their computer experience, the rest just "do computer stuff."

From Life On The Mississippi:
One of the Mississippi's oddest peculiarities is that of shortening its length from time to time. If you will throw a long, pliant apple-paring over your shoulder, it will pretty fairly shape itself into an average section of the Mississippi River; that is, the nine or ten hundred miles stretching from Cairo, Illinois, southward to New Orleans, the same being wonderfully crooked, with a brief straight bit here and there at wide intervals. The two-hundred-mile stretch from Cairo northward to St. Louis is by no means so crooked, that being a rocky country which the river cannot cut much.

The water cuts the alluvial banks of the `lower' river into deep horseshoe curves; so deep, indeed, that in some places if you were to get ashore at one extremity of the horseshoe and walk across the neck, half or three quarters of a mile, you could sit down and rest a couple of hours while your steamer was coming around the long elbow, at a speed of ten miles an hour, to take you aboard again. When the river is rising fast, some scoundrel whose plantation is back in the country, and therefore of inferior value, has only to watch his chance, cut a little gutter across the narrow neck of land some dark night, and turn the water into it, and in a wonderfully short time a miracle has happened: to wit, the whole Mississippi has taken possession of that little ditch, and placed the countryman's plantation on its bank.

Pray observe some of the effects of this ditching business. The Mississippi between Cairo and New Orleans was twelve hundred and fifteen miles long one hundred and seventy-six years ago. It was eleven hundred and eighty after the cut-off of 1722. It was one thousand and forty after the American Bend cut-off. It has lost sixty-seven miles since. Consequently its length is only nine hundred and seventy-three miles at present.

Now, if I wanted to be one of those ponderous scientific people, and `let on' to prove what had occurred in the remote past by what had occurred in a given time in the recent past, or what will occur in the far future by what has occurred in late years, what an opportunity is here! Geology never had such a chance, nor such exact data to argue from! Nor `development of species', either! Glacial epochs are great things, but they are vague--vague. Please observe. In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. This is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi 173-6 (1883)

Re:Extrapolation? (1)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940235)

I would be find with verbose, but off topic?
We're talking about extrapolating a linear rate and this is off topic?
Mark Twain's punchline of "And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. " without the preceding paragraphs.

Ignorati. (5, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939545)

It's utterly ignorant to believe trends will continue indefinitely in a linear manner. We're in a global recession caused in large part by this destructive thinking. People saw a couple years of double digit returns and assumed they'd continue indefinitely.

Firefox will rise at a linear rate until it captures its natural market share. After that point, it'll quickly level out. It's a basic first order process.

Firefox is a quality product, but acting as if the current meteoric rise is sustainable is to join the ignorati who have forgotten history, time and time again.

Re:Ignorati. (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939811)

Firefox will rise at a linear rate until it captures its natural market share.

Why do you assume linear change? In my experience, once products reach a critical mass over the competition, they tend to "hockey stick". Which is to say, they make sudden, explosive gains, leveling out near their natural market share.

I think the 2013 number is bogus, but only because I'm guessing we'll see a hockey stick sometime within the next year or so.

Re:Ignorati. (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940133)

I see your point and agree with it to a certain extent, but as has been stated, the most important thing here is not marketshare. As long as there are several real competitors, MS will be forced to follow web standards, and everyone will benefit from increased innovation.

it will get worse thanks to IE8 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939553)

and its hideous UI (that changed in IE7)
not to mention the built in spywa~~cough "suggested sites" "feature" combined with the IE8 Safersite check and your browser will be spending more time uploading more data to Microsoft than downloading

antitrust bully? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939569)

Obama administration keen to make an example of an antitrust bully

It'd be nice to see them take on Apple and their bullshit use of the DMCA to shut down people trying to get iTunes to work on Linux.

The browser is infrastructure (3, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939625)

"Microsoft's loss of IE market power, in turn, could have serious consequences for the company's efforts to compete with Google on the Web."

Um, Internet Explorer loads google.com just fine. Chrome loads microsoft.com just fine.

It doesn't matter what their market share is, Microsoft already lost. The web is now firmly based on open standards, not proprietary technology tied to a specific operating system.

What we should be more concerned with is the fact that everything depends on Javascript.

Re:The browser is infrastructure (2, Insightful)

newell98 (539530) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939915)

Not yet it's not. Flash and Silverlight are everywhere. Until there is solid support for <video>, quicktime and WMV will continue to flourish. Javascript isn't the offender here. Its open (EMCAScript) and finally has decent, standard support across major browsers.

Proprietary standards can work... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940257)

It doesn't matter what their market share is, Microsoft already lost. The web is now firmly based on open standards, not proprietary technology tied to a specific operating system.

If someone could make a browser that did something that was not part of the standards, that appealed strongly to content producers, then, you could get a proprietary based internet. It's that CSS / HTML does the job that people perceive they want Browsers to do.

Developers anyone? (5, Informative)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939639)

I tell you ... I remember back in the day when IE was the browser of choice for developers. Netscape was the nightmare. This was the age of table based layouts and one missed closed table tag stopped the entire page from rendering in Netscape. I don't know when that changed, but now, IE is monkey on my back. At my current gig (huge web shop) we do everything in firefox, and then work out all the kinks in the various IE browser. I absolutely loathe MS for not allowing customers have multiple versions of IE on the machines without jumping through some nasty hoops. And the debugging situation on IE is just abysmal. You'd figure if they improved the development situation on the browser, market share would improve from user experience and developer evangelization. They really need to step it up on all fronts to maintain their position not that I want them to. I think it will be a good thing to have browsers in competition with each other. I certainly don't want Firefox to become the big guy on the block. The only good thing about firefox is the extensions It's the only reason I use the damn thing. 3.0 was supposed to be lean and mean when in reality, it still eats memory like a fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet which kills my system. I have hopes for Chrome, but when I'm not in development mode (which is rare since I find myself using firebug all the time to remove annoying pictures from articles or alter inline js), I think Opera is the winner. This is coming from a guy who has been using Mozilla products since the .70 mozilla suite.

There is a probably a ceiling on Firefox's gains (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939651)

Given that installing anything other than IE on a windows machine will require effort on the users' part, there has to be some floor on IE's market share, and a ceiling on Firefox's. At some point, everyone who is capable of installing a browser on their machine at all will have switched to firefox/chrome/opera. That doesn't mean firefox can't someday pass IE on Windows, but IE's share probably could never fall below 25% -- the proportion of windows users utterly incapable or unwilling to install software on their machine.

Re:There is a probably a ceiling on Firefox's gain (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939921)

While this is certainly true, there is also the problem of moderately tech saavy
end users becoming tired of cleaning up after Microsoft. They are likely to take
the machines of these n00bs and lock them down so that they cause minimal trouble.

It doesn't even take a "geek".

No good broswers really exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27939739)

Its too bad that all of the browsers on the market are crap though. IE with security holes, Firefox with its memory leaks that STILL exist. Safari that is buggy with many websites and the evil Google Chrome. Not one browser that is completely written to standards exists today. Each vendor always seems to make some unique tweaks and make the rendering act different on the same website.

If these trends continue... (5, Funny)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939755)

"Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continues... AAY!"

Disco Stu optimism (-1, Redundant)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939923)

"Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue... AAY!"

It's (also?) a trend in web page design. (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939945)

Firefox is able to masquerade as IE. For some sites this has been necessary to view them. This results in Firefox being undercounted and IE being overcounted. (I haven't read TFA to see what, if any, mechanism they used to correct for that. Presuming they didn't...)

What this says to me is most of the interesting web sites have migrated to designs that don't reject Firefox (and perhaps other "standards compliant" browsers) and as a result more Firefox users are browsing without the masquerade.

It's just overpriced, is all. (3, Funny)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939947)

Clearly, people don't feel the price Microsoft asks for IE is reasonable. They should lower it a bit.

how does IE "compete" with Google? (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 4 years ago | (#27939973)

"Microsoft's loss of IE market power, in turn, could have serious consequences for the company's efforts to compete with Google on the Web."

Is it just me, or does this comment seem totally off the wall?

Re:how does IE "compete" with Google? (2, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940305)

They did not say that IE competed with Google; they said that Microsoft competed with Google.

Quick, which company am I describing?

  - Has an IM network
  - Has a large webmail application
  - Has a search engine
  - Has a browser
  - Has an office suite
  - Has a mobile platform
  - Has billions of dollars
  - Wants to be on every desktop
  - Is on most of them

MSIE market share has not changed much (0, Troll)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#27940075)

The blog entry is quite misleading (or maybe just assimilated). The market share of MSIE has only gone down as much as the market share of MS Windows has gone down. It can be that Windows has disappeared at a rate of 5% - 10% per year recently, but Microsoft is fighting back by tying IE to other products to block competition. That other product is MS Windows.

MSIE must be removed from MS Windows [webstandards.org] . Or better yet, just ditch MS Windows and save [cnet.com] your economy [informationweek.com] .

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